In anticipation of the Scottish Parliament passing the UNCRC Scotland Bill (Stage 3) on 16th March 2021, our Co-Director Cathy McCulloch wrote a short provocation. This was shared with our Unfeartie Network via the link at the bottom of this page.

I wonder how many people realise that today Scotland becomes a global leader in how it demonstrates its commitment to children. When the Scottish Parliament passes the Bill to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) later today, we are committing to investing in families and children in their earliest years, to locate our planning and delivery in prevention. The opportunity this affords us cannot be overstated. Until now, children have relied on adults doing the right thing – and often adults don’t do the right thing.

Children’s experiences of adults’ behaviours are inconsistent. In the public sphere, their experiences range from feeling valued, loved and encouraged to feeling humiliated, ignored and scared. They ‘hope’ the next adult with influence over their life is going to be kind and understanding, not shout at them or make them feel anxious. Scotland is a country where ‘hope’ is all they have had. Until now.

Janusz Korczak*, the Polish, Jewish, author, pediatrician, and pedagogue said: “To reform the world, means to reform our methods of bringing up children”. We have an opportunity now to accept that as a society, we need to think about how we influence the environments our children grow up in order that they experience trust, kindness, empathy, and respect – and by experiencing it, they are then able to show trust, kindness, empathy, and respect to themselves and to others.

When asked what children’s human rights means for children, one young Member of Children’s Parliament (MCP) said: “Adults might think children’s rights means children get to do what they want. But that’s not what it is. Children don’t want to be able to do what we want all the time. Rights means that adults have to be kind to us and not shout or do bad things to us. They have to help us be the best we can be“.

From today, we have permission to reform. Children won’t have to rely on ‘hope’ any longer.

Cathy McCulloch OBE, Children’s Parliament Co-director

For posterity, our newsletter containing this message along with a schedule of the day and other relevant links, can be found here

UNCRC Incorporation Bill: Tuesday March 16th 2021
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